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US spending bill drops Turkey sanctions

A draft spending bill has dropped proposed Turkey sanctions meant to target Turkey's detention of Americans and US consulate staff amid US efforts to ease tensions with Ankara.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), accompanied by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), speaks with reporters following the party luncheons on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. December 5, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein - RC1567898790

Proposed language on Turkey sanctions in defense of what Congressional lawmakers call US hostages was dropped from a draft $1.3 trillion federal spending bill that was released to the public yesterday.

The move comes amid a concerted push by the State Department to assuage Turkey, a critical NATO ally, over the United States’ continued support for Syrian Kurdish militants labelled terrorists by Ankara. The State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, which handles relations with Turkey, is believed to have played a major part in persuading Congress to shelve proposed sanctions against Turkish officials deemed to have been responsible for what the Donald Trump administration terms the unlawful detention of US nationals and Turkish citizens employed by the US consulates in Istanbul and Adana.

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